Operations and Maintenance, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Sustainability

Emerging industry trends: a greener future


Systematiq director Brydon Johnson talks to Rail Express about the move towards a greener future for the rail industry.

Imagine a future where diesel engines are replaced by the silent efficiency of renewable energy, and the rail industry’s carbon footprint is non-existent.

This isn’t a pipe dream. Railways globally are harnessing wind, solar, and greener technology, leading us towards a sustainable future. But what about Australia?

Systematiq director Brydon Johnson explores this green transformation, dissecting pioneering advances reshaping the rail industry.

“It’s time to ask: how green can we go?” he said.

Johnson looked at various global initiatives and emerging industry trends.

“Germany’s Deutsche Bahn has tackled this head-on. Its Strong Rail corporate strategy embraces a ‘green transformation’,” he said.

“Their goal? To be 100 per cent climate-neutral by 2040, covering all areas of the railway in Germany and their global logistics subsidiary, DB Schenker.

“India mirrors this transformation. Their government taps into solar power for its railways.

“The aim? Become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030, a decade ahead of Germany.

“The plan is simple: develop solar-powered trains and install solar panels on station rooftops and unused railway land.”

Meanwhile, Switzerland is in the game too.

A Swiss startup, Sun-Ways, is integrating renewable energy production facilities into their railway systems.

“They’re installing removable solar power plants between railway tracks,” Johnson said.

And now it’s Australia’s turn to join the green team.

“In Australia, New South Wales’ heavy rail network has become the country’s first to achieve 100 per cent net zero emissions, four years ahead of schedule, through a renewable energy deal,” he said.

“The NSW government partnered with Snowy Hydro-owned Red Energy for electricity supply, purchasing renewable energy certificates on behalf of Sydney Trains.

“The transition to green energy places the railway at the forefront of the NSW Government’s emissions reduction efforts.

“While in Queensland, Australian rail company Aurizon and British mining giant Anglo American have begun a feasibility study into adopting hydrogen-fuelled trains that could transform the Mount Isa and Moura rail corridors, vital links between the mineral-rich province and key coastal cities.”

Johnson said to help these projects, Systematiq provides expertise to operators, maintainers, constructors, and asset managers in the light, passenger, and construction sectors of the Australian rail industry.

“We provide flexible and scalable project management and support across each of the phases of your project lifecycle, with our ability to deliver discrete work, and provision of overflow and flex resources,” he said.

“Our capability includes tender writing and project procurement, project management and asset management, systems engineering and assurance, as well as supplier and local industry development plans.

“We’ll ensure your objectives are met within the desired timeline and budget, and keep you moving forward.”